News

30 years in the army, and he’d do it all again

STANDING PROUD: Barry De Bomford with his daughter Kathy Gunning at Yamba Anzac Day dawn service.
STANDING PROUD: Barry De Bomford with his daughter Kathy Gunning at Yamba Anzac Day dawn service.

"I LOVED it. I would do it again tomorrow" aren't always the words you hear from diggers who saw so much bloodshed, felt so much pain and fought within inches of their lives.

But as they come from the mouth of Barry De Bomford, his words paint a picture of pride and it becomes clear that feeling of knowing you made a difference trumps all.

At age 26, Mr De Bomford was one of the "older fellas" to join the army.

He enlisted in his home state of Tasmania in 1966 and did not retire until they forced him to, 29 years and seven months later.

A former motor mechanic, the parts and machinery he soon learnt to handle were a world away from what he knew in his early 20s.

"It was pretty different, but a few of my mates had joined up and I just thought well, that looks like me too," he said.

He was posted to the 7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment where he did two tours of Vietnam.

"On the second tour I was wounded in a mining incident and they sent me back home," Mr De Bomford said.

He was soon promoted to Sergeant Major and later relocated to Townsville to the second 4th Battalion where he became a warrant officer.

Between that, and afterwards, Mr De Bomford and his family moved every few years, from Holsworthy, Singleton, Bathurst, Rockhampton, Hobart and back to Sydney.

In 1995 he reached compulsory retiring age of 55 and was forced to leave the order and structured life he knew.

And while his medals leave a lasting memory for the now Yamba resident, they remind him, and all of us, of the mates that never made it back to home soil.

"I lost three fairly close mates, but you just learn to live with it. Life goes on," he said.

"When you're out there everything just happens so fast and sudden, then before you know it it's all over.

"That's why Australian soldiers are so good, they are so well-trained that when something happens, their training just kicks in."

With a smile on his face and his proud daughter, Kathy Gunning, by his side, Mr De Bomford told The Daily Examiner just what the 2015 Anzac Day centenary meant to him.

"This is one of the most important days of our lives."

Mr De Bomford received two Vietnam War medals, two long service medals, one active service medal and an ADF medal.

Topics:  anzac day, army, editors picks, veteran

Recommended Reading




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

OPINION: How to prepare your child for day care

Your kids will love childcare, but it may take some adjusting.

GETTING your child ready for day care is vital.

MUMS' TOP 5: 'Musts' to have on your childcare checklist

SOME FALL SHORT: Organisations that train childcare workers will be subjected to extra audits.

SENDING your child off to day care can be daunting and confusing.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Joyce slams Grafton Hospital cuts claim: ‘It’s a load of BS’

Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce reacts as he visits Macadamia Processing Cooperative with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull near Ballina in the seat of Page, Friday, June 17, 2016. Jobs will again be the focus as Malcolm Turnbull heads to the NSW north coast, but this time with a $25 million pledge. The coalition hopes the $25 million investment will give businesses incentives to invest and help boost employment in the region. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING

Deputy PM's frustration at wild campaign assertions

Distance dictates cancer survival rates in regional areas

Analysis shows how big gap is for accessing treatment

Grafton assault-accused addicted to ‘ice’

Grafton Courthouse Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Charge matters had all the "hallmarks of an ice-related incident"

Latest deals and offers

Vivid timelapse

Screenshot from timelapse of Sydney's Vivid Festival

This timelapse shows Sydney's Vivid Festival

Nationals announce $10m for truck washes

The National party brought state and federal representatives to announce a joint...

Bowen Therapy

No Caption

An introduction to the Bowen technique.

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%

DIY: How to build a backyard fire pit

DIY stars and Weekend magazine columnists Ayden and Jess Hogan.

Would you build this for your backyard?